Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Sunday, January 23, 2005

January 23 Events in Iraq

Najaf. City to be divided into 4 sectors; road traffic prohibited. For five days beginning 25 January, road traffic will be prohibited and residents will not be allowed to leave the city, which will be cordoned off into 4 security sectors. Hotel guests have been warned to leave now or to be forced to stay in the city, says Gen. Ghaleb al Yazaeri. The general also warns that anyone violating the prohibitions will be arrested on the spot. However, a press headquarters has been set up to provide security to journalists wishing to cover voting in the city.

Baghdad. US Ambassador John Negroponte optimistic on elections. We foresee a high turnout in the north and the south of the country. There may be areas with problems in the center, especially within the provinces inside the Sunni Triangle but even in those areas, every effort is being made to provide security allowing the highest number of residents possible to vote.

Baghdad. Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Nakib says a nationwide curfew will be imposed on 29, 30 and 31 January from 8:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Baghdad. Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Nakib refuses to comment on rumors that Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi was captured on Saturday.

Geneva. UN considers its elections mission accomplished. The UN considers its work done in preparing Iraq for elections. However the UN is concerned that the elections will only be partial and that they may lead to more civil strife.

Paris. French journalists unhappy with government effort to locate Florence Aubenas and her interpreter Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi. Reporters Sans Frontières Secretary General Robert Ménard believes the French government is not doing its utmost to obtain information on the whereabouts of Libération journalist Florence Aubenas.

Baghdad. Ahmed Chalabi, who has been threatened with arrest by the Iraqi Defense Ministry accused Hazem Shaalan of moving millions of dollars out of the country for mysterious ends. Mr. Chalabi gave a press conference in a Basrah hotel on Sunday, saying it was highly suspect to move such an amount ($300 million) in cash. Meanwhile Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Nakib says there has been no arrest warrant issued for Mr. Chalabi.

London. Trooper Kevin Williams, of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, will appear before a court martial charged with shooting dead an Iraqi civilian, while Private Alexander Johnston, of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers, is to face trial accused of the unlawful wounding of a 13-year-old boy.

London. UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw affirms Teheran's right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and suggests that military action is undesireable.

23:07 Washingon. US doubles bounty on Bin Laden to $50 million.

16:40 Dubai. Guerrillas show video of execution of guard. Ansar al Sunna shows hostage's identity papers before executing him, saying it is a warning to other apostates.

15:56 Baghdad. Cinese embassy locates released Chinese hostages.

15:40 Tehran: A US attack on Iran would be a "strategic error." Teheran dismisses US threats as psychological warfare but warns Washington, We do not consider such an attack probable, unless a certain country wants to commit a clamorous strategic error. says Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi during the ministry's weekly press briefing.

14:00 Baghdad. Allawi says elections will end violence.

12:40 Nassiriya. Hospital fire kills 14. Fourteen are dead and seventy-five are injured in a fire in Nassiriya Hospital. The fire broke out at 2:00 am due to a probable short circuit. Seriously injured patients have been evacuated to the Italian military base, Camp Mitica.

11:00 Camp Victory, Baghdad. Soldiers sentenced in court-martial. Two US soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division were found guilty in the homicide of Iraqi interpreter Mrs. Luma Hadi. Charley Hooser, 28, of Midland, Texas, was sentenced to three years in prison for pulling the trigger; Rami Dajani, 24, a Palestinian student residing in the USA, received a sentence of 18 months for providing the homicide weapon. Both received a dishonorable discharge. Mrs. Hadi's daughter, Sara, aged 6, has not been informed of her mother's death. The US military paid $25,000 in compensation to the family of the victim.

10:30 Baghdad. Al Zarqawi declares war on democracy. A message from Abu Musab Zarqawi says he will strive to disrupt the 30 January elections. We have declared war without mercy on the principal of democracy and those who subscribe to it.

08:39 Baghdad. Chinese embassy awaits word on whereabouts of released Chinese hostages.

01:46 Brasilia. Brazil mobilizes to work towards release of hostage. Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim asks Middle Eastern countries to assist Brazil in working for the release of Joao José Vasconcelos who has been kidnapped by insurgents.


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